Catholic Nuns, Some Catholic Lawmakers, Announce Support For Health Care OverhaulThe Los Angeles Times: "Their numbers and influence may be declining, but American nuns demonstrated Wednesday what generations of schoolchildren already knew: They are a force to be reckoned with. By sending a letter to Congress in support of the Senate healthcare bill, a wide coalition of nuns took sides against not only the Republican minority but against their own church hierarchy, as represented by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which opposes the bill. The nuns' letter contributed to the momentum in favor of the legislation, despite opposition that is partially rooted in a disagreement over abortion funding. ... The letter was signed by the leaders of more than 50 Catholic women's orders and organizations, including the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which says it represents more than 90% of the 59,000 American Catholic nuns" (Landsberg, 3/18).
The Boston Globe: "Roman Catholic opposition to the health care overhaul package is crumbling, with some church officials and lawmakers concluding that their long-sought goal of health care overhaul trumps the desire to adopt the severest restrictions on abortion funding. A coalition of 59,000 nuns released a letter yesterday calling on Congress to approve the overhaul, defying the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which opposes the measure. The Catholic Health Association, which represents 1,200 Catholic hospitals, has endorsed the package, as have Catholics United and Catholic groups promoting social justice. That split mirrors a division among some antiabortion US representatives."
"Ardently antiabortion Representative Dale Kildee, a Michigan Democrat who once studied in a Catholic seminary, said yesterday he will vote for the package despite language that some believe is not strict enough in ensuring that no federal funds are used for abortions. Another antiabortion Catholic lawmaker, Representative James Oberstar, Democrat of Minnesota, said he is likely to vote for it. Several other antiabortion lawmakers are undecided but say they will not let the abortion issue sway their votes" (Milligan, 3/18).
The Associated Press: "A retired Catholic bishop is announcing his support for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, despite the church's official opposition. Retired Bishop John E. McCarthy of Austin told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he is as opposed to abortion as every other bishop and that the bill before Congress would guard against the use of taxpayer funds to pay for it. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, however, says the restrictions don't go far enough" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/17). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.